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April 24, 09

NEWS / Defendants, Including Sisters, Sentenced for Defrauding Dallas-Based Business Four Defendants Stole

DALLAS—Four defendants, including two sisters, have been sentenced for their roles in defrauding ART Holdings, Inc., a Dallas-based corporation that owned several subsidiary companies including Calpian Residual Partners, L.P., ART Merchant Acquiring Inc., Checktronic, Cash Lane and Check Express, of more than $750,000.00, announced acting U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

Celina Sanders, 40, of Fort Worth, Texas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $119,966 in restitution, following her guilty plea to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in January 2009. In a related case, Dwayne Smith, 44, of Lancaster, Texas, Sanders’ co-worker and co-conspirator, also pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and was sentenced in October 2008 to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $164,336 in restitution. Sanders and Smith worked for ART Holdings, Inc., d/b/a Checktronic.

In another related case, sisters Janie Heggins, 55, of Desoto, Texas, and Paulette Heggins-Carter, 38, of Grand Prairie, Texas, were sentenced on January 15, 2009 to 36 months and 15 months, respectively. In addition, Janie Heggins was ordered to pay $458,759 in restitution and Paulette Heggins-Carter was ordered to pay $275,706 restitution. Heggins worked for Calpian Residual Partners, L.P. and Heggins-Carter worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

According to documents filed in court, Sanders and Smith together stole nearly $285,000.00 from their employer by issuing Checktronic checks payable to Smith’s credit card accounts and to Sanders’ husband. Sanders and Smith disguised these fraudulent checks by altering Checktronic’s records to falsely reflect payments to legitimate Checktronic customers.

Heggins, the company’s controller, issued and mailed payments to personal credit cards, mortgage companies, and other creditors of her sister, Heggins-Carter, in the form of checks drawn on company bank accounts. Heggins also wrote checks to herself and transferred Calpian funds by check and wire transfers into bank accounts held by Gold Rush, a business she and Heggins-Carter jointly owned. From the Gold Rush account, both Heggins and Heggins-Carter made payments to Heggins-Carter’s credit card and mortgage accounts. Heggins altered accounting records, invoices, and bank records to falsely reflect that these checks were legitimate payments to vendors or customers.

Acting U.S. Attorney Jacks praised the excellent investigative work of the U.S. Department of Transportation - Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Miller prosecuted the cases.

Tags: corporation, document,


AnnaMaria Realbuto
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Kateryna Melnychenko
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Rani Payne
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Serge Bauer Law
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